To support good causes, one nautical mile at a time.
The Reina Group MD, Ricky Reina completed an extraordinary challenge last year and rowed the Atlantic following in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus.
In 1493 Christopher Columbus sailed from Cadiz on his second voyage to Antigua, with 17 ships and 1200 men. The Atlantic Avengers, are following this route leaving on 17th November 2018.
One rowing boat, 3800 nautical miles, and just 2 extraordinary men
On Saturday 23rd February 2019 at 9:20am (AST), after 88 days, 12 weeks, 2,116 hours and 127,005 minutes, two superheroes touched dry land for the first time.
Delirious, relieved, weathered, bearded but, ultimately, victorious. They stood up face-to-face, looked into each other’s eyes, soaked it in, smiled and longingly embraced – struggling to comprehend what they had just achieved.
That time lapse just gives us mere mortals a tiny glimpse of the epic journey the Atlantic Avengers, Ricky Reina and John Wilson, have been on.
Now imagine that length of time but battling against one of the planet’s most fearsome oceans; completely subservient to mother nature’s supernatural force and beauty, in a two-person glorified tin can, with oars as your motor and an indescribable sense of determination and will pushing your body to its limit to row 4,445 miles from mainland Spain to Antigua.
Take a minute. Let that sink in. It really is unbelievable.
Unbelievable to the normal person, yes, but let’s not forget Ricky and John aren’t normal and, on that fateful February day, two “ordinary” blokes achieved the extraordinary.
Turn back the clock three years and the pair were attempting their first world record for the longest indoor continual row as part of their training – in a sports hall, on dry land and using a row machine.
Predictably, they smashed the record but, at the time, the thought of rowing the Atlantic was all a distant dream.
On Tuesday 27th November 2018, as the boat headed due west from Cádiz into the expansive dark blue ocean and the first oar stroke of thousands glided through the water, the dream became a reality and what faced them was a challenge that had never been achieved by two men.
Now, three months on, Ricky and John can sit you down on their knee, take a satisfactory swig of ice cold Wadadli beer and tell you all about that time they made rowing the Atlantic seem like a romantic punting trip down the River Cherwell:
- First all-male pair to row from continental Europe across the Atlantic east-west non-stop
- Oldest team to row across the Atlantic from continental Europe
- John became the oldest person to row across the Atlantic from continental Europe
- Fastest pair to row from continental Europe across the Atlantic east-west
- First British pair to row from continental Europe across the Atlantic east-west
Atlantic Ocean? Consider yourself Atlantic Avenged.
However, records aside, the journey didn’t come without its trials and tribulations. For starters, just imagine John’s face when the entire alcohol supply ran out halfway through and realising you’d have to spend the remainder of the trip sober with only Ricky for company.
Add to that: no power for navigation, communication and the fresh water pump for weeks due to no sun for the solar panels; 50ft+ waves that blacked out a clear night sky; a 10ft shark circling for three days and a tempest so terrifying that you remained sealed inside a washing machine for five days as you prayed to Poseidon for safe passage.
No matter what the odds, through highs and lows, tears and sweat, thick and thin, they completed it and, as the dust begins to settle on what they have just achieved, they should be immensely proud of how many hearts they’ve touched and people they’ve inspired.
Not only have they raised an incredible amount for charity (tag charities) but also collected data from the surface and under the Atlantic Ocean, working with the International Doctoral School in Sea Studies (tag them), to support studies on the impact of plastics that kill marine life in the ocean.
Just want to leave you with the final image of the boy’s arrival at Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. On very few occasions do you get to see raw human emotion and in those precious minutes as they embraced loved ones it truly was a beautiful moment.
But, as Ricky stood up at the finish, hands on his head and uttered the infamous phrase: ‘Never again’ – we get a sneaky suspicion the next challenge will be right around the corner.
A massive thank you to everyone who played a part in the journey and hope you all had as much fun following the Atlantic Avengers as we did.